GMA, Esperon, Razon respondents in first writ of amparo petition in Mindanao

The petition was filed by Bebelita Bustamante of Paquibato district, whose only son, 21-year old Luicito, disappeared on October 27.

The other respondents are Major General Ernesto Boa of the Army's 10th Infantry Division based in Davao City; Lt. Col. Alexander Ambal, chief of the division's 73rd infantry batallion in Sto. Thomas, Davao del Norte, Col. Allan Luga, commander of Task Force Davao, a certain Noli Obat and seven  John Does, or unidentified respondents.

The Karapatan human rights group, who accompanied Ms Bustamante at the Hall of Justice, said her son was reportedly taken by elements of Task Force Davao.

Bustamante told MindaNews her son was taken for questioning on Octobrer 27 by Obat, whom he identified as a (member of a) "task force."

Luicito has not returned since.

His mother said in her affidavit that the military has denied having her son in their custody when they followed up about him.

But Ambal told ABS-CBN Davao Wednesday afternoon that Bustamante was taken by Obat's group because he was identified as a member of the New Peoples' Army in the area and was involved in a crime.

Ambal identified Obat as a "resident" of the area even if the petitioners identifie Obat as a military man.

The petition, however, puzzled Judge Isaac Robillo, at whose sala it was filed.

Robillo asked if he is the proper authority to give a summons to the President. He stressed he understood very well the discussion of the chief justice on the writ of amparo but the inclusion of the President is among the complications of the enforcement of the new rule.

He told the petitioners that the inclusion of Mrs. Arroyo made it difficult for him to act on the petition. He cited the length of time for the writ to reach the President considering he is given only seven days to hold hearings.

Robillo told reporters he would be forced to act immediately on the petition to issue the writ to the respondents and demand from them a response within five days so he could schedule summary hearings.

Robillo told Eduardo Estores, one of Bustamente's counsel, that he would act on the petition within 24 hours.

Estores told MindaNews the President and the AFP and PNP chiefs were included on the principle of command responsibility. He cited that the petition filed by the family of missing activist Jonas Burgos also included Mrs. Arroyo and the other officials.

Bustamante told MindaNews she would do everything, including dragging the President to the petition, just so she could get her son back.

Ms Bustamante petitioned the respondents to immediately release her son “if still alive or if already dead, to show the place where his remains are placed or buried and to pay … punitive damages in the total of P500, 000."

The petitioners asked the court to allow for the inspection of detachments of the military in Paquibato, the 10th ID headquarters in Panacan and  the Task Force Davao Headquarters in downtown Davao City and the production of documents such as intelligence and operation reports prior to during and subsequent to October 27.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines Davao City Chapter, the Free Legal Assistance Group and the Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao  (UPLM) assisted Bustamante in the petition.

The petition was filed a day after Chief Justice Reynato Puno delivered hours of lecture on the writ of amparo to judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and police officials at the University of Mindanao Auditorium in Matina district here (see related story)

The Supreme Court in an en banc capcity approved the enforcement of the writ on October 24, three months after it was recommended during the national consultative summit it convened in July to address the problem of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)